Last weekend I made a new recipe – the first new recipe of the new year! – and it came out pretty great, for the most part. After flipping through my huge stack of cookbooks that day, I just kept coming back to eggplant recipes, and I finally gave in and picked one: the eggplant and polenta casserole from Forks over Knives.
The recipe called for two whole eggplants, and the ones I ended up with were gigantic. I cut up the first one and found that it barely fit into the absolute largest skillet I own. I figured I would stop there and just make the recipe with one eggplant since it looked like a massive amount of food, but this first one cooked down so much, it barely looked like enough for a meal! Funny how that works out. In the end, I ended up just cooking the eggplant in two batches, and it seemed to work out just fine.
Now, polenta is one of those foods that I’ve wanted to like for a long time. I’ve cooked it twice before – once for another recipe and a second time just as a side dish by itself. Both of those times, I thought it tasted kind of odd and dry, even with cheese mixed in. I figured I’d give it another try this time around, since it always sounds like such a great thing to eat.
Let me tell you, cooking that polenta was no picnic. It got incredibly thick quickly, and the package I had on hand needed to be cooked for 30 minutes, and whisked pretty much the whole time. About 5-6 minutes in, it felt like I was mixing cement. I followed the instructions as far as the water to polenta ratio was concerned, so I’m still not sure if I actually am doing something wrong, or if it’s supposed to be that way.
But again, the taste just seemed weird to me. I really want to like polenta, but it just doesn’t seem to be working out!
On the flip side, the eggplant mixture was delicious, and if I make this recipe again, maybe I’ll make some sort of different starch to go on top. There is a possibility that it’s just me though, because D ate the polenta from this dish and seemed to really enjoy it.
I’m happy I’ve started the year off with a new recipe, and I’m looking forward to making a few more that I’ve bookmarked, but I’m still mystified by what the polenta problem is.
Do you like polenta? Any tips for cooking it/making it taste better??